Tag: Lockout

Billy Hunter

First word from today’s union meeting: some players ready to cave to owners’ demands


We interrupt your otherwise barren, locked out NBA programming to bring a minor update from the Players Union meeting in Los Angeles today. JaVale McGee was one of apparently few players that attended today’s meeting, and spoke with SI.com‘s Sam Amick on his way out. Here are Amick’s tweets from L.A.:

Wizards’ JaVale McGee had another meeting 2 go 2. On way out out, says “Everybody knows we’ve got 2 get more people 2 come to the meetings.”

That, in itself, isn’t great news for Billy Hunter and the union. With David Stern puffing up his chest and imposing arbitrary deadlines all over the place, it’s more important than ever that all of the players are on the same page and working to maintain their collective stance. Lockouts breed dissension. It’s natural that with cashflow stopped and games being stricken from the schedule that the players side would get antsy, but meetings like this can help to clarify and reinforce the union’s message. That function was still served, but only to the apparently limited number of players who actually bothered to show.

More McGee: “There’s definitely some guys in there saying that they’re ready to fold, but the majority are willing to stand strong.”

This is nothing that both we and the owners didn’t already know; there will be players who just want to get the damn thing done already, who wear their t-shirts just like everyone else but slide closer and closer to the breaking point. That’s expected and natural. What’s not expected is that McGee would come right out and say it. Even knowing that JaVale McGee is JaVale McGee, this was a ridiculously foolish soundbite, and one that very clearly and directly betrays the interests of the NBPA. Smooth move, JaVale…unless you’re actually among the “some players,” and are ready to fold, in which case this was a surprisingly subtle and clever act of sabotage.

UPDATE (6:38 PM EST): Well, it didn’t take too long for JaVale McGee to hilariously try to issue a public dismissal. Shortly after reports from multiple journalists in L.A. began making the rounds, McGee tweeted the following:

I never said anyone is ready to fold! Media always wanna turn it!

Good one, JaVale. These aren’t reporters merely jotting down notes hurriedly on a notepad; there are any number of audio recordings of McGee saying those exact words. Those reporting McGee’s comments are among the most trusted in the business, and yet he still tries to discredit them with one of the oldest — and most outdated — tricks in the athlete’s PR book.

Another pertinent tweet on the subject came from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Player who attended NBPA meeting in Los Angeles texts: “Don’t believe (JaValle) McGee.”

Take from that what you will.

UPDATE (7:04 PM EST): Just in case there was any doubt, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times has posted the audio from McGee’s press scrum.

Shane Battier’s willing to sacrifice BRI money to lower ticket prices. Swell guy.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

Shane Battier is very much the black sheep of the NBPA. He was one of the first to challenge Billy Hunter on the issue of his salary in the lockout, and has consistently played contrarian to the NBPA’s homogeneous stream of rhetoric. On Friday, he took it a step further. With every NBA player out there saying 53 percent and no lower is their battle cry on BRI (that was an unfortunate rhyme), Battier said he’d be willing to budge if the money didn’t go to the owners, but to the fans.


Methinks I would forgo a few points on the BRI, if we could guarantee that NBA games would be more affordable for fans, especially familiesFri Oct 14 17:03:09 via Tweetlogix

Battier said that he himself wouldn’t have been able to go see games with how expensive tickets (and beer, for his dad) are, crediting his father for the sacrifice (not the beer, presumably).

It’s brave for Battier, another example of him breaking ranks in the pursuit of reason. Battier’s not in-line with the rest of the groupthink, and speaks what’s on his mind. We could use a few more out-of-the-box thinkers like Battier in the negotiating room, and fewer dogmatic ramblers.

Udonis Haslem gets cleared to play basketball, would like to play NBA basketball soon

Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem celebrates a basket against the Chicago Bulls during Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference Finals playoff basketball game in Chicago
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Udonis Haslem’s twitter account is less than 24 years old, but he’s already using it to post major news and his opinions about the lockout:

How ironic. Just got cleared by doctors for full workouts. Hardwood here I come. LET US PLAY #STANDUNITED

A foot injury caused Haslem to miss most of the regular season and the playoffs, but he was able to come back and give the Heat some very good minutes in the Conference Finals as well as the NBA Finals. Still, his foot wasn’t 100% healthy, and he’s spent most of the off-season continuing to rehab it. It looks like he’s finally healthy, but of course, it won’t really matter until a CBA deal gets done.

Nash makes twitter plea for owners to end lockout

Boston Celtics v Phoenix Suns
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Steve Nash has never been shy about his opinions, and today he’s using his twitter account to ask the owners to end the ongoing NBA lockout. Here’s what he tweeted:

The NBA has experienced over 60 yrs of growth with new growth projected using the current model. After a banner year the players are still willing to GIVE the owners a higher percentage in good faith. Why are the owners unwilling to negotiate in good faith? As a player I apologize to the fans that we’re in this position but we will not be taken advantage of. In our hearts we’re desperate to play, in our minds we know better and are prepared to #standunited. Let us play.

The 37-year old Nash obviously doesn’t have a lot of years left in his career, so it’s easy to see why he wouldn’t want one of them to get cancelled. According to some reports, Suns owner Robert Sarver has been, along with the Cavs’ Dan Gilbert, one of the owners willing to give the least amount of ground to the players throughout the lockout negotiations.

Carmelo Anthony to host the next star-studded exhibition game in NYC

Tommy Hilfiger Womens - Backstage - Spring 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
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Sunday’s South Florida All-Star Classic was the grandest of the NBA exhibitions to date, but it was nonetheless a single game in a series of similar contests. The summer of pro-am hoops has stretched into the fall of pro-am hoops, so much so that the idea for the next big exhibition game took mere moments to spawn following the conclusion of the Sunday’s festivities.


For those waiting for the details with bated breath, Marc Berman of the New York Post (via ESPN New York) has you covered :

Nothing is set in stone, but Anthony believes he, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and friends will stage a big exhibition in the Big Apple.

“We’re going to keep giving back,” Anthony said.

On his Twitter account yesterday, Anthony started banging the drums for his Big Apple charity-fest. “Working on an epic exhibition charity game in NYC,” he wrote. “Showtime. I’m comin’ home.”

I certainly won’t argue with charity; the more Anthony, James, et al can raise for a good cause, the better. There is a linear payoff in getting funding and supplies to organizations and people in need, and it’s terrific that this group of players will be able to generate money to benefit others.

That said, we’re well past exhibition fatigue at this point. Basketball fans have become accustomed to a certain standard, and honestly, the level of basketball being played is only one component of that standard. The NBA is a league that hosts competitive games, but it also hosts a conversation. There’s an active, evolving discourse that gravitates around the game, and that just isn’t possible with a series of exhibitions. It’s great that NBA players are involved in basketball in some public capacity during the ongoing lockout, but these exhibitions provide a two-dimensional substitute for a three-dimensional product. It’s basketball, and basketball involving some of the NBA’s most incredible stars, at that. But it’s a brand of basketball that separates the sport from its deeper value.

There will always be something in that bouncing ball, regardless of setting. Just don’t expect ten players — even ten of the best players — and a hoop to recapture what has granted NBA basketball its magic. These games don’t even hit in the same register as the NBA game, much less reach the same notes; exhibition basketball lives in the absence of nuance, and as a result, distills a beautiful game to nice dunks and gaudy stats. It’s fun, but broad fun, devoid of the character that makes the NBA the best sports league on the planet.

So do your thing, Melo. Shoot some hoops, donate some money to charity, and give back to the fans who dig this kind of thing. But the rest of us are still waiting, and these contests don’t do much to satiate our specific hunger.